UPDATE: U.S. law enforcement officials are telling The Associated Press that the Navy contractor identified as the gunman in the mass shootings at the Washington Navy Yard had been suffering a host of serious mental issues, including paranoia and a sleep disorder. He also had been hearing voices in his head, the officials said.
A practicing Buddhist known by his friends as a peaceful soul, the 34-year-old Navy reservist at least once had succumbed to a “‘blackout’ fueled by anger,” according to a police report.
“He is a nice person,” said Ms. Wilton, who worked with Alexis at Happy Bowl Thai restaurant in White Settlement, Texas, and attended the same temple. “I never see him get mad at anybody.”
Three months ago, Alexis told restaurant employees that he was leaving the area. It was unclear what he did or where he lived after that — details that the FBI is still trying to track down.
On Monday, investigators identified him as the gunman whose shooting spree claimed at least 12 lives at the historic Washington Navy Yard in Southeast D.C.
Alexis was among 12 found dead inside the naval facility; a 13th person died after being transported to George Washington University Hospital. More than a dozen others were injured.
It was unclear whether Alexis killed himself or was slain by law enforcement officers during the hourslong ordeal.
“We don’t have any known motive at this juncture,” D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray said late Monday, adding that there was no indication the shooting was a terrorist attack.
Valerie Parlave, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, said investigators are “trying to piece together recent movements and contacts of the suspect.”
There is more than a good deal of mystery about Alexis.
Defense officials speaking on background said he was working as an information technology contractor, but it was not immediately known which company employed him or whether he was assigned to the Navy Yard.
Later, computer company Hewlett-Packard issued a statement: “We are deeply saddened by today’s tragic events at the Washington Navy Yard. Our thoughts and sympathies are with all those who have been affected. Aaron Alexis was an employee of a company called ‘The Experts,’ a subcontractor to an HP Enterprise Services contract to refresh equipment used on the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) network. HP is cooperating fully with law enforcement as requested.”
As a contractor, Alexis could have had a badge that might have gained him access to the secured naval base.